Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Family Visits-Part I-Goa

I have been complaining to my mom for close to eight years, bi-annually, of not coming and visiting me in Bangalore. I mean, people just don't dump their wards in Bangalore; people come and visit their wards once in a while. Yet this was not in my case. I have been living here since eight years and the only time she came to Bangalore was during my law-school admissions. Once admitted, she never bothered. Or rather, she did bother and felt guilty, but she is a working woman and she couldn't find the right time to visit me.

Goa: anticipating rain
But now, in a few months time, I shall be leaving Bangalore and so I told her to visit me and see Bangalore before I leave. For some weird reason, she agreed this time.
And we booked her ticket (#happy)
... along with my brother's ticket (#incredulous)
.... and my brother's friend's  ticket (#twomangateens?!)
... and my brother's friend's mom-and-dad's tickets!  (#facepalm)

After tickets were done, there was a frenzy of plans happening in Guwahati. All wanted to go to Goa. Brother wanted two days to be with his friends, the other family wanted to visit another place besides Goa, mom wanted to do some wedding shopping, auntie wanted to go for saree shopping... they had five days in hand and I had a handful of hair in mine!

This vacation was NOT going to be my vacation: I was to be their guide. I don't make a good guide.

Nevertheless, this is how it happened:

It so happens that Indigo airways have started operating a direct flight from Guwahati to Bangalore that lands at Bangalore right at 8pm. The flight landed 20mins early (which is unheard of!), yet my group trickled out at the very end of the flight-crowd.This was a warning of how things could get hold up when there are five people from the "land of laahe laahe".

There was no time to lose because we had a bus scheduled for Goa at 11pm. I packed the entire bunch in a hired Innova and asked the driver to speed it up to Orion Mall for a quick dinner. On the way, we caught up on the news of everyone from Assam, from Assam politics to neighbours' politics and reached Orion Mall by 10pm. They gaped at the Mall like it was a thing from another planet. Frankly, I had never been to Orion Mall and damn, it was huge! I would have gaped too, but I pretended as if every other mall in Bangalore is just as big (*grins*).

For the next 45mins, I became the ring-master of my group, keeping a timer by which they need to finish the dinner and arrive at the bus stop. And sharp at 10:45pm, we reached the bus stand. And the bus? It was late!

Customs Govt. Guest House- Rs. 100 a night!!
The bus showed up a good 30mins late; however, we were all too tired to complain. They were impressed once again seeing the cleanliness of the "night-super" and the cleanliness of the public toilets in Karnataka!

By noon the next day, we were in Goa, settling in the Customs Guest house that my uncle had booked for us. It being August, the Goan rains were in full swing. The rain came and cleared for brief periods. For people getting scorched in the Guwahati heat, Goa was a blessing!

The first day, we decided to visit the Baga and Anjuna beaches. At Baga, I took them to the famous Britto's and made them taste the Pepper Prawns. That was a huge hit! Another bigger hit was the shandy I prepared. A crowd-pleaser everywhere!

The famed Pepper Prawns @ Brittos
The beach had a crazy effect on The Bunch. I guess it is the fact that they don't get to see the beach that often that made them go so crazy! Because of the monsoons, the waves were huge and the beach was wet. Yet it didn't stop them from enjoying the sea. It was just lovely seeing my mom and aunt screaming their lungs out to the sea... the sea must have turned partially deaf :/

Dona Paula
After the beaches, auntie voted that we go on a Goan cruise. I was extremely skeptical but 'course, they voted me out of the vote. So we all went. It was my first time on a cruise and it was extremely bad. The MC sucked, the music sucked and for the cultural experience, they provided three Goan dances with the same dance troupe. Well, it didn't suck for the families present there. They were dancing on stage. Brother and his friend (let's call them the Manga teens) gave one look at the stage and went upstairs on the deck and never came back. The cruise was an hour long excruciating affair; nonetheless, in the end, I was actually beginning to enjoy the part when auntie went up onstage with a group of married ladies to dance. Painful for her son, yes, but fun for us! ;)

The next day, we covered Dona Paula, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Fort Agoda and Calungute Beach. I haven't been to Dona Paula before and I quite liked the place in the early morning. We were almost alone, without tourists around, with the sea surrounding us. It was nice.

We wrapped up the Basilica and Fort Aguada as fast as we possibly could and headed to the beach. There, the Bunch went mad, once again... Knee-deep in water, screaming, plunging... they didn't mind the rain... they loved the sea!
For lunch, we went to Souza Lobo's in search of authentic Goan cuisine and we weren't disappointed. The shandy was becoming part of lunch ritual now. Later, we went to a cashew-nut and fenny wholesaler and bought "souvenirs" for people back home.

Late that night, we caught the bus back to Bangalore. They looked at the sea and made promises to come back and visit Goa soon!

Footprints in the Sand
On the 3rd day of their 5 day trip, weary and beaten by the sea, The Bunch reached Bangalore. Continue>

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